mars-rover

Researchers have allegedly discovered something on Mars that’s utterly “earthshaking.” As in, this will change science and our perception of the Red Planet forever. What could it be? The Mars Science Lab isn’t sharing the big news just yet, because it wants to double and triple verify its results. Once that’s done, well, we’re in for something big.

Science speak is a little different from typical Average Joe speak, so what’s earthshaking for them might not be as mind blowing for us. But the MSL team seems to believe their data, collected from a soil sample test in the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, is of great significance.

SAM is designed to investigate the chemical and isotopic composition of the Martian atmosphere and soil. In particular, SAM is looking for organic molecules, which is important in the search for life on Mars. Life as we know it cannot exist without organic molecules; however they can exist without life. SAM will be able to detect lower concentrations of a wider variety of organic molecules than any other instrument yet sent to Mars.

It was recently revealed that water temperatures on Mars would have been conducive to past life, so perhaps both data sets together indicate evidence of past (or current) life. Either way, information for or against life on Mars will be important because it will give researchers more insight into the Red Planet, particularly environmental conditions.

“They have some exciting new results from one of the rover’s instruments,” NPR’s Joe Palca said. “On the one hand, they’d like to tell everybody what they found, but on the other, they have to wait because they want to make sure their results are not just some fluke or error in their instrument.”

Unfortunately, it’ll probably take the team several weeks before they’re comfortable talking about what they found. It certainly sounds interesting, and will surely instigate all kinds of wild theories and speculation. If it’s any evidence of humanoid Engineers, we should depart Mars immediately and never return. Hopefully we’ll find out more information soon.

[via io9]